COPD is a progressive lung disease that makes it difficult to breathe. COPD is a combination of two conditions, emphysema and bronchitis.

Emphysema damages the air sacs in your lungs, and bronchitis inflames and narrows the airways. People with COPD often have a cough, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing.

COPD is a leading cause of death in the United States. More than 16 million Americans have COPD, and the number is growing. Cigarette smoking is the main cause of COPD, but long-term exposure to other lung irritants, such as pollution, dust, and chemicals, can also cause the disease.

There is no cure for COPD, but treatments can help relieve symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. If you have COPD, quit smoking and avoid exposure to lung irritants.

You may also need to take medications, such as bronchodilators, to open your airways and help you breathe better. Oxygen therapy may also be helpful.

Living with COPD can be difficult, but there are ways to make it easier. Exercise, healthy eating, and staying social can help you stay active and improve your quality of life. Pulmonary rehabilitation programs can also help you learn how to live with COPD.

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